Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Heading Into Labor Day Weekend"

Just wanted to make a statement here about my reviewing comics, whether old or new ones.

I don't get out much. That is to say, that I work a 9-1/2 hr. a day job at least 5 days a week. The closest comic book store (as such) is nearly 40 miles away. I rely on getting new comics thru 2 main sources:

1) Waldenbooks, which there's a store located in Elizabethtown, Ky., 45 miles from here. (I find myself there from time to time due to trying to settle my late father-in-law's estate, and thus make a stop whenever possible to buy new comics. The ones they carry are mostly DC, Marvel, Bongo and Archie. This is 'why" you'll see reviews mostly of those titles.)

2) A Houchen's supermarket in Glasgow, KY., 15 miles or so from here. I get there every couple of weeks and mostly what they have are Marvel, DC or the occasional Image title.

The titles I review are comics I've enjoyed reading in the past, thus you get more reviews here of a lot of super-hero-type titles, and, sometimes a humor comic.

I would review more comics, and titles outside of the mainstream companies, IF I could obtain them. So if anyone out there is publishing an independent comic and wants to send me a copy, I will review it, I promise. I'll review ANY comic book sent to me, whether old or new, and give you the "D.Puck" treatment which may be good, bad, or indifferent---but it WILL be reviewed.

I will also review fanzines and small press publications with the same enthusiasm. To send me publications for review just email me at: and I'll send you a physical address.

And today on what will probably be my only day off this week until maybe next Tuesday , I decided to get up on my roof and clean out the gutters and rake the leaves and haul them off. Did so. Took notice that my grass needs mowing again, which I shouldn't bitch about since it's been at least a month since I last did that. Also filled up the garbage cans again with that trash to be hauled off. maybe one or two more loads will have all of that gone as well.

Took a little time to stop my the local bookstore to look thru the spinner rack which an old comic book dealer named James Miles fills with back issues. Found 5 misc. issues of The Fantastic Four from the 1980-early 90's I didn't curently have and bought same. Looked around the store and there was James himself at one of the pc's they let the public use. Hadn't seen him in several years so we had a lengthly talk and caught up and what had been happening with each other in the past few years. Good to see him! James used to have a bookstore which carried mostly comics in Bowling Green several years ago. He said he missed those days, and so do I as I bought many comics from him back then at that location.

And I'd like to wish Robert Crumb a Happy Birthday, today! Crumb is 64, being born in 1943. One of the pioneers of the underground comix movement, his style is one of those impossible types that's unduplicatable. Truely a unique artist and individual. (That's his "Fritz" at the top.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Even MORE New Comic Book Reviews"

Since I've made such a fuss about that copy of Super Comics Plastic Man #16 (from 1964) here recently, I think I'll review that issue first.

I want to start with the third and last story in this issue (originally published in Quality Comics Plastic Man #21), simply because it's the one Golden Age Plas story I remember the most, and also, my favorite.

It all deals with a shape-shifting alien that comes to earth and tries to blend in, first by changing his appearance to look like animals, simply because that's the first thing it sees. But as it progresses it changes from, first, a squirrel, then a dog, and finally meets up with "Woozy Winks" and becomes his duplicate.

This creature survives on salt, so it breaks into a food warehouse, knocks out the guard and starts eating tons of salt. Well, of course Plas goes to interview the guard and that man points the finger of blame at Woozy and Plas has to arrest him.

But he knows in his heart that Woozy's innocent and goes on the trail of the real culprit. In the meantime, the shape-shifter goes to a salt plant and disguises itself as a BAG to be filled with salt. The poor workers there keep pouring pound after pound into the "bag", only to find it never gets full. Finally, the alien sort of has his fill, and runs off, making those workers think they're crazy!

This news gets back to Plas he follows a trail of leaking salt and find the animated bag and tries to capture it, even knocking it for a loop, so the creature changes itself into a shovel and Plas can't find it. In fact, Plas himself thinks he's going a bit looney (see above reproduced panel from story).

After Plastic Man leaves, this alien proves how smart he really is because he figures he can change INTO the image of Plas and use his shape-shifting powers just like Plastic Man does to steal more salt. Well this makes people think P.M.'s a crook and Plas has to track down his double to find that it is indeed this creature and does battle with him on the unfinished girders of a skyscraper, finally defeating the alien by tying him into a knot and forcing him leave the earth.

This tale ends as Woozy is cleared of all charges and Plas apologizes by buying Woozy a LOT of chocolate sodas!

The first story in this reprint (from Quality comics Plastic man #18), is about an asian mentalist: mystic and mind reader, who calls himself "Kra Vishnu". Plas and Woozy go to see one of his performances and afterwards decide to go back stage to see him. But between the time of the show's end and their visit, Vishnu reveals to his lady friend that he knows she's in love with someone else and kills her. Plas and Woozy come in just in time to see her lying there strangled to death, but Vishnu says it wasn't him but her lover. He fakes his grief to the point that he takes poison saying he can't live without her anymore, and Plas and Woozy rush him to the hospital. They didn't know that Vishnu had built up an immunity to this specific sort of poison.

When Vishnu gets out he hunts down his woman's lover to shoot him and does so, and leaves before Plas comes in to talk to the man. But Plastic man's smarter than Vishnu thinks as he discovers the man was a right-handed violenist, but shot in the left temple. As Plas leaves he sees Vishnu and starts the chase, but Vishnu can read Plastic Man's mind and knows his every move and escapes. So then Plas goes on the search for Kra Vishnu, changing his own appearance into that of the mystic, and holding a sign asking people if they'd seen this man? Someone finally does at a train station, but Vishnu escapes once again, this time vowing to kill Plastic man! He tries to shoot him, but bullets don't work, and then a bomb, which too is unsuccessful. So Kra Vishnu kidnaps Woozy and locks him in a warehouse room and tells Plas where to find him. Plas goes into the room and out of the sprinkler system comes a plastic desolver! Woozy thinks it's killed his friend, only to find that it wasn't Plastic Man at all, but a fellow agent (P.M. works for the F.B.I., remember??) in disguise. So the battle ensues, with Kra still knowing Plas's every more, until P.M. tricks him by thinking that Woozy is going to shoot Kra in the back, and when Vishnu turns around, Plas knocks him out. This tale ends at Kra Vishnu's trial, where he faints before the judge can read the sentence. Vishnu had read the judge's mind that his punishment was the electric chair!

And finally, the second story in this issue (not sure which issue it was in originally) is a solo "Woozy" one where he's being chased by an ugly girl that's madly in love with him. Woozy ducks into a restaurant where the owner declares he has a beautification formula. The girl accidently gets it and turns into a real doll, so NOW Woozy wants her. But she doesn't want anything to do with Winks now and more attracted to this handsome guy, only to turn back ugly again and back chasing Wooz'. Silly little tale, but wonderfully done!

Jack Cole's work in this issue is, at the least, brilliant, and it sported new cover art by veterin artist John Severin.

In New Comics:

BOOSTER GOLD (DC) #1: Deals with BG trying to get in good with the JLA again, and tries to do all sorts of heroic deeds and saving people that, since he's from the future, knows are going to happen to them ahead of time. Only to get back involved with Rip Hunter, The Time Master like he was in the "52" series. Hunter explains that there's a LOT of loose ends to clear up from the whole "52" thingy and BG will be the most heroic hero of all time, albiet, no one will know of his heroic acts. It's a change for the somewhat selfish Booster, always the glory-seeker and not always on the up and up; a form of redemption you might say, so he bites at this chance and that's what all future issues will be based on; i.e., BG going back and forth thru time to clean up some messes and maybe keep us, the readers, from having to suffer thru yet another DC "Crisis" series. I give this new title a "B". It probably deserves less, but hell, I'm a fan of the character! (What can I say.)

METAL MEN (DC) #1: tries to give a bit of background on Doc Magnus's original intent and the team's creation. We get to see the newst M.M., "Copper", in action a bit, and we see "Tin" has finally stopped stuttering. Whether I'll really enjoy this new attempt at one of my fave old Silver-Age titles is hard to say at this point in the story. MM has such a long history behind it; a LOT of plain ol' silly tales that I fondly remember that there's no way I can ever take this title seriously. But then, I don't want to take it seriously. I wouldn't enjoy it if it was so. I give this newest reboot an "A" for effort and hope for the best.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Notes on A Tuesday"

You never know what a day will bring. Today, after two weeks, was the first day I didn't have a single thing "planned" to do. I was going to just rest after a lengthly number of days at work (plus other myriad chores). Just wasn't meant to be. Around 11AM my mother and I got these phone calls from the local nursing home telling us that my dad was being taken back to the medical center in a city around 35 miles from here for a while for some reavaluation and tests due to his increasing weight loss and aggitation. It appears he may have a urinary track infection. We left around noon so we could get there and do the admission paper work on him, and stayed quite a while until he finally fell asleep. Since he's gone into the nursing home he's lost at least 20 lbs. because just just won't eat. His condition has progressively gone downhill even more so in the past five months. At times he knows who we are, and other times, not. The trip there and back was pretty hot today. This makes day 30 in a row here in South-Central, KY. with temperatures over 90 degrees. "Maybe" a cool down next week.

A little update on that comic that's long overdue (the Super Comics Plastic Man #16 (1964). I checked the confirmation this morning and it said that it's left the Cincinnati post office and is enroute. Lo' an' behold! It arrived in TODAY'S mail! Got here amazingly quick after it was finally mailed, so I'll be noting "things" about that issue soon.

In other news....

About a month ago I bought a new coin bank because I decided I'd try to save my loose change every night just to see how much it could accumulate to in a few months. Today I decided just to count it and discovered that it was already up to $42.40 in just about four weeks! Amazing. If it keeps up that average I should have well over a hundred dollars extra for Christmas use.

You may also remember that some time back I noted the amounts I had been spending on comic books over the past three years. Well, that's shot all to hell now because of the bad auction experiences I had letting some other people sell stuff for me on eBay. I forgot to list the exact amount to be subtracted from those totals, and because some of the material was duplication I no longer have the slightest clue as to the exact number of my collections' inventory, or even which comics should be eliminated completely from my inventory lists. I'd say that I still have something in the area of 12,000 comics around here, but not all of that is actually what I consider my collection (maybe 8-10 K). I should really go through these again sometime when I have a few days to do so, put comics IN my collection that I want to keep and weed out the rest and simply store them seperately to make room. Currently I'm just too lazy and it's still way too hot, so that's to be an Autumn project.

And my old friend and fellow comic book enthusiast David Jones (aka: "Johnny Bacardi") stopped by for a nice visit this evening and brought me freebie copies of the new Metal Men AND Booster Gold DC titles, so I'll be reviewing them next time here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Semi-Annual Rantings (Part 2)"

Remember that copy of Super Comics Plastic Man reprint #16 (1964) that I mentioned winning waaayyy back on 7/15 of this year from a dealer called prospectorsparadice? Well, I mailed this seller a check that same day, and figured he'd hold it the "customary" 10-14 days for it to clear as usual, and I'd have that item in about 4 weeks.

Seems like that was just wishful thinking on MY part.

The seller finally marked the item as "payment received" on 8/6. So, I thought, "Finally! I'll have that comic in 7-9 days!"

No such luck. About the 16th. or so I emailed him and asked politely about the status of the item. I didn't get a reply; just the next day that a PayPal shipping lable and confirmation had been made (on 8/17).

So here it is August the 27th., and still no comic, so before I wrote to him again with yet another inquest about my item, I checked the confirmation (which actually I just did last night, but there was no change or notice that the item was in the mail). Today finally it's been marked as "enroute".

I guess that prospectors' mule must have died with which he delivered his merchandise. And, that's "what I get" for buying something off of eBay from someone that's obviuously an antique dealer rather than a comic book dealer. much for ranting.

Today I want to talk about Marvel Comics a bit, and in particular, Stan Lee.

I notice a LOT of fans are down on Stan these days, and I can see their point. They think he's a glory-seeking old fart with the mentality of a fan boy. But I don't feel like these people are getting the Big Picture here at all. Stan's a very intelligent person, and his motives are all business for his products and the company he endorses. He does his job to absolute perfection.

I dare say that if it wasn't for Stan's enthusiasm about Marvel and super-heroes in general, that the whole comic book industry would be in a slump.

Stan Lee is the ultimate PR man, and the PR man for Marvel Comics. Let's look at a prime example with these U.S. super-hero postage stamps that have been released in the past couple of years.

When DC Comics released their set (or, rather the U.S. Post Office released them), there was practically NO promotion save for mention on the U.S. Post Office's home pages, and perhaps, at a few comic book conventions. The stamps sold as they were at the post offices with pretty much no incentive at all.

Here this year with the release of the Marvel SuperHero sheet, it's all different. There's free posters, 4 different ones, that make one large poster of the Marvel super-heroes available in many locations when you purchase said stamps. The post office has a promotional poster in their lobby, one sheet freebie comic strip pages featuring Spider-man, Aunt May and Stan (as a "Willy Lumpkin" type postman), a contest to win $10,000.00 and a cardboard diarama holding the contest entree forms (or you can just on "on line" to enter the contest).

Stan keeps himself out-there for the fans of Marvel to readily recognise; just look at how many little cameos he's had in the many Marvel movies. And that's yet another point of how many MORE Marvel based flicks have appeared than ones based on DC characters in the past few years (whether they were all "good" or not).

DC, to me, has more intellectual titles than Marvel, but their promotion abilities really suck, and they need to take a lesson from what Marvel's doing. With the interest in comics Marvel displays to comic book fans, it's helping to keep titles alive from every, comic book company. Promotion makes comics sell. No money; no comics at all. Simple as that. And Stan's selling comics. I haven't seen anyone from any other company get on t.v. or in movies doing that with the other companies.

'Nuff said.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"The Weekend Catch Up"

Yes, it's Catch Up time here at "Elmo's Junction", after having worked 9 days straight before a day off, then when I did, having even more work to do.

Yesterday my wife and I made a trip up to my late father-in-law's place to help her neice (and husband and another neice) start cleaning out her dad's old two-story garage. What-a-mess.

This was a man who was a terrible packrat, and as much good "stuff" as there was stored in that garage from tools to wood for building supplies (as he used to build houses for a living), there was just as much plain ol' trash and garbage. Old clothes and magazines, and huge rolls of carpet, and lighting fixtures, at least three bicycles (which beats me why they were there as he never rode one to my knowledge), old t.v.'s & furniture and metal stands, and l.p.'s, glassware, as well as just "junk, junk, junk".

Among us we filled up a 32 square foot dumpster and a full-bed truck (like the size of a dump truck), worked over five hours and I dare say it would take yet another two full loads just in that dumpster to get rid of the trash. The auction is the first weekend in October and I'm not sure if they'll be ready for it by then.

For my efforts the one neice gave me several things, like an electric saw table, a weed-eater, a handful of l.p.s (including a KISS ALIVE! II, Glen Campbell Live DBL l.p., and a KINKS: "Sleepwalker") and a few other things she told either my wife or I to simply take home. I did run across a couple of old boxes of books, magazines and the like, but never found the newspapers from the 1940's which my F-I-L had promised me. Most of the books were in terrible shape as were the magazines, but I did salvage a copy of LIFE Magazine with The Beatles on the cover and interior story from 1968. (Already had one, but it looked like it might be heading for the dumpster had I not saved it.)

I also save a woman's magazine for my wife because of a cover photo and article on Princess Di from 1993. Hard to believe how time gets away from you. The 31st. of this month makes ten years since her death.

We got very, very hot and extremely dirty, but that still didn't keep me from stopping by Waldenbooks to pick up some new stuff. Here's a few reviews:

BRAVE & THE BOLD, THE (DC) #6: which is the continuing tale of trying to reobtain "The Book of Destiny" and rewriting it to save earth's future. This time it was a Batman/Green Lantern team-up, which reminds me of my youth when I picked a copy opf B&B 59 from the stands featuring the same team-up, and the issue which pretty much began the nearly every issue app. of The Batman with some other DC hero. It's the conclussion of the first story arch in this title, and also has app.'s of The Challengers of The Unknown, Supergirl, Adam Strange, a couple of the LOSHs members, and some quick cameos by Star Hawkins & Ilda, Space Ranger, Booster Gold, Tommy Tomorrow, etc. Just a "lotta material" crammed into this issue written by Waid and drawn by Perez, and it's a pretty decent DC title. I give this issue a "B+".

FANTASTIC FOUR (Marvel) #458: has The Black Panther and Storm as alternate members of The F.F., but Reed and Sue are there as well, with Reed trying to save Sue from the clutches of "The Frightful Four". This issue surprizes me that it's written much like a story from the silver-age. It's continued and features a surprize cameo by one of The Black Panther's old enemys at the end. I very much enjoyed it! By McDuffie and Pelletier, I give this single Marvel title I bought this week an "A".

FLASH, THE (DC) #231: is a "reboot" isue from the second series with the Wally West version of the scarlet speedster. I may have made a mistake in a previous review when I was talking about the ALL FLASH title; this is a continuation of the numbering from The Flash v2, rather than V1. There's been, like so many other comic titles, so many re-bootings over the years that at times it gets confussing. The Flash---the ORIGINAL Golden Age Flash's title, wasn't called "The" Flash, but instead, FLASH COMICS, so in 1959 when the silver age Flash was given his own title, this was changed to "The" Flash, and continued the numbering with #105 since the original run went 104 issues, stopping publication in 1949. The SECOND volume of "The" Flash was the one with Wally West, before yet a third volume became with the "Bart/Impulse" character for 13 issues. Obviously (although I admit to not keeping up with it), The Wally West title stopped with #230. (But..I digress...) This issue has a variation cover as well; one has Flash and his kids running on it and the other has just him shooting out of a daVinci-type drawing. In this issue we have sort of a recap of the birth of Flash's kids and their various powers and a "first adventure" for them. It's an "okay' "okay" title...but could be so much better. 'Fraid I have to give it a "B Minus" this time around even with the Waid script and Acuna art.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (DC) #12 gets an "A+!" for it's complete package of Alex Ross cover art, Meltzer script and Benes/Wight art. This issue will cost you an extra fifty cents as it's a "6th." issue, and it seems that every sixth issue these days DC ties the storylines up so they can be reprinted in TPB format. The few extra pages and extra price is well worth it, as this is a fairly simply tale of "Monitor Duty" as different JLA members take their turns. But there's a second story going on here of a retro sort, with two old the JLA's eldest members waxing noslgic on "the past". A great tribute to the works of Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Julie Schwartz. This is one of the DC's to definately buy this time.

And another "A+" goes to one of DC's pilot titles, SUPERMAN #665 which features "The Secret Origin of Jimmy Olsen". To my knowledge there's never been a story which told how Jimmy became a staff member of The Daily Planet. This story is done so well by Kurt Busiek and it's hard to imagine "why" it wasn't done before. Nice art by Rick Leonardi as well makes it yet another "must read" DC title this time for it's pure enjoyment factor.

And how's 'bout dat? I reviewed 5 titles and gave them all a decent grade this time. (I must be getting soft in my old age.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"NEW Comic Book Reviews"

Looks like all of the new comics I'm reviewing this time around are all DC titles with the exception of one. Here they go in alphabetical order:

ALL FLASH #1 is sort of an in betweener to connect the last issue of The Flash v3, and back to continuity in numbering from the first volume. The relates how "Bart" (i.e., "Impulse"), who took up The Flash mantle after Wally West gave it up, died and the events leading up to it, as well as the punishment for those responsible. I considered it an "okay' read, myself, and give it a "B+".

ALL STAR SUPERMAN #8 continues the story where he's stuck on the square "Bizarro World" and attempting to get back to Earth. As much as I am a fan of both the Bizarros AND Grant Morrison, there's not a whole lot of substance to this story and Frank Nicely's artwork doesn't quite save it. This gets a "C".

BRAVE & THE BOLD, (The) #'s 4 &5, have stories with Batman (naturally), and also Lobo, Supergirl, Adam Strange, The Fatal 5 and The Legion of Super-Heroes. As usual, George Perez does an outstanding job on the artwork, but I personally prefer seeing his pencils inked with a bit finer line (such as on "Crisis" or the early issues of "New Teen Titans"). Mark Waid does a good enuff job of writing this series, but it's nothing spectacular. "B Minus".

JLA CLASSIFIED #40 is the on-going tale of "Kid Amazo", and Milligan and D'ana do a fine job on the story and artwork. I haven't been too impressed by previous issues of this title, but this one was pretty good, especially the battle between Kid Amazo and Batman. I give it an "A".

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8 continues to sport those beautiful Alex Ross covers, this time of "Liberty Belle". Geoff Johns shows he can still write an entertaining comic book, and Pasarin/Ramos artwork suits the Golden-Age DC characters. We learn a lot about Liberty Belle's past and training, with the added treat of "Johnny Quick". Give this book an "A".

SIMPSONS' SUPER SPECTACULAR #5 is the only one of this lot NOT pubbed by DC, but by Bongo, and by far the best of the bunch. The lead in story is pretty good having a ray hit Bart and Homer causing them to "switch ages", but the back up is the best of this comic as it has "Radioactiveman" battling a parody of "Metamorpho" and with artwork by RAMONA FRADON! Give this mammy-jammer an "A+"!

SUPERGIRL #20. Well, to be honest, I missed both #'s 18 & 19 here lately because I hadn't gotten back to my book store due to family matters of a couple months past, but I'll certainly be on the lookout for those back issues now with Renato Guedes doing the artwork. I could ignore the whole story just to look at his artwork since he does such a realistic effort on the figures. Supergirl never looked better to me, having grown tired of the slick Mike Turner/Jim Lee-styles they've drawn her in before; but the story by Bedard wasn't half bad either, with the "War Against the Amazons" thingy going on. I'll give it an "A" for effort.

TEEN TITANS GO! #45. Damn those little cameos of "The Doom Patrol" snuck into a comic that I don't regularly buy! Well...the art's okay (for "what it is"), and the story's entertaining in a simplier sort of way. It features two stories which are retelling of the origins of both "Beast Boy" AND "Cyborg". I can't really rate this comic being a DC/t.v. deal and aimed at younger viewers, but I'm sure it's perfect for what audience it's aimed towards.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Cartoon Pabulum"

Last night I was up fairly late and had the t.v. on The Cartoon Network, or "Boomerang", or some such, and was watching "Justice League Unlimited", and after that was over I just left it on that network and shortly thereafter they showed "Super Friends".

On JLA Unlmt., the JLA was fighting "Darkseid", and on "Sup.Friends", they were doing the same (which just shows the staying power of popularity of the old Jack Kirby characters, I suppose). But I couldn't hardly even watch the old SF's from 25+ years ago due to the crudeness of the design work. I'm sure that back when those cartoons first appeared I thought they were great, but really they hadn't changed in quality a bit since the first DC and Marvel super-hero series began around 1967 (and this isn't counting that Ghod awful series of cartoons called "Marvel Super-Heroes" which preceeded the 60's 1/2 hr. FF & Spider-man shows).

DC may have finally gotten rid of the monkey and the kids and "The Wonder Twins", but the animation was still the same, which makes me wonder even to this day "why" these animated super-hero shows haven't improved even more so?

Occasionally you saw a little computer graphics done on JLA Unlmt., but that's just mixed with what has become known now as a "house style" on all DC characters in animation (outside of maybe "The Teen Titans" with their anime-look). 'Can't see why the entire shows can't be done the same way their opening sequences are done, with better shading. It's sort of like seeing a comic book on the stands with really great cover art to only open it to find it's by some hack filler artist.

I remember one of the Spider-man shows had some excellant animated graphics at the END of their episodes, showing Spidey sitting on the Marvel logo, but the animation on the show itself was just that "same ol' same ol". How great I always thought that could have been had they used the same level of time and energy on the episodes as they did with that 4 seconds clip. But I guess it all comes down to economics and just how much $ they can pour into their cartoons.

The downfall of animation really began with television since previously cartoons produced for movie theatres were aimed basically towards adults, which is "why' we had such wonderful work from the like of Warner Bros. (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.), Terrytoons (Mighty Mouse, Heckles & Jeckle, etc.), Disney (Mickey Mouse & that gang), Fleischer Studios (Popeye, the 1940's wonderful Superman cartoons, etc.), MGM (Tom & Jerry, & the like).

When t.v. got started they did in fact start showing some of those old great cartoons, but mostly it was filled with new shows and they had a specific budget they had to maintain. There was less detail, less background, repeated backgrounds (especially on Hanna-Barbera shows), and less frames per second making the movement less fluid. They were also aimed primarilly towards children rather than adults. Then political correctness reared it's (sometimes) ugly head and these cartoons were either clipped all to hell or eliminated from broadcast completely.

It's not that everyone did this even today. The Japanese still rule on amimated shows, but there all just that damn anime-look that over the years I've gotten where I can't quite handle anymore. "Astro-Boy" was a novelty back in the 1960's, but it's tending to wear on my nerves these days and those sort of shows are the first I change the channels on anymore. I'm afraid my own sense of humor is pretty different that what THEY seem to think is funny. Different cultures...different times...and obviously a LARGE age gap there to that level of humor.

It's like watching a "Godzilla" movie today. When they originally were made I would literally beg my dad to take my under-the-age-to-drive-a-vehicle-ass to the local drive-inn to see one. Now I can't hardly even watch one at all, and if I do it's with the whole new perspective that it's camp and humor more than adventure & thrills.
And it's also much like trying to read a DC or Marvel comic book from the 1980's compared with what is being currently offered. The stories and artwork are crude in the 80's in general (not that there weren't a handful of gems in that gravel), much worse than a lot of it in the 1960's and 70's. In fact, the 1980's were almost like a lot of companies took a step back, rather than forward.

So I can only hope that now since the original JLA Unlmt. run has ended and DC has new animated projects in the works, they will be a little bit better than before. "The Legion of Super-Heroes" is only fair...and PLEASE NO MORE "KRYPTO" SHOWS!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Still In The Heat Wave"

First I'd like to thank everyone that either commented or emailed me personally regarding the previous posting here.

I still have no real comments one way or the other regarding that post; just thought everyone needs a forum whether they're credible or not, and you can just mark that one down as one of my semi-yearly politicals.

(And besides...didn't I tell you that after all of that "waxing nostalgic" from last month that I'd present something completely different*heh!)

Any they say... "on to other things".

Picked up three recent comics today: Justice League of America (DC) #11, Justice League Unlimited (DC) #35, and The Sensational Spider-man (Marvel) #39.

JLA #11 was really good this time around. The Brad Meltzer story had "Red Arrow" and "Vixen" trapped beneath the rubble of a fallen building, both injured and trying to escape. The artwork's by Gene Ha, whose work I've enjoyed since the days he did Ghost for Dark Horse Comics. It's an "A+" issue.

Sensational Spider-man's story revolves around Aunt May being in a coma, supposingly not to awaken, and Eddie Brock being in the same hospital dying of a terminal illness. In his delusions he keeps seeing "Venom" and it speaking to him, telling him to kill May to extract vengence on Peter Parker. Had he "killed" May, this story may have been a bit more interesting. He does obviously kill his nurse and then dons a make-shift Venon costume to do-in Pete's elderly aunt, but cops out at the end and attempts suicide only to be saved by Peter Parker. Overall, a disapointing story and in the "C" catagory with kudos to the interesting artwork Rick Hoberg, Stepano Galdiano & Clayton Crain done in a Lee Weeks style and the eye-catching black-type painted cover. But I'm afraid that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing was a bit dismal. Besides, just how many times can they kill off May? 'Should have left her dead the first time instead of bringing her back rejuvenated in that "Ultimated Spider-man" title.

The JLA Unlimited I probably wouldn't have purchased had I known it wasn't a "Metal Men" appearance. Looked like it when I first glanced at the cover, but it turned out to be a story of "Steel" and his neice, Natasha, (who wanted to be a full-fledged JLA member). Which it's fine for "what is is", but even at that rates no more than a "B" grade.

And I picked up a couple of those "Legion of Super-Hero" figures McDonald's giving out these days (giveaways, my ass! They've upped the price to a buck fifty each for those now!). Got "Braniac 5", and one of their villians, "Tharok". I'll more than likely just find me a full set on eBay or pick those up eventually at flea markets, but I did want to check them out first. (There's 8 figures in the full set.) They're sort'a neat; come in a little ilustrated box and look just like their counterparts on the LOSHs animated series.

And...what else...? Oh yeah...There's a NEW piece of artwork (or, at least one no one's ever seen outside of myself) over on my "Unpublished Work" link. This is a full page from a comic strip called : "Such Characters". (There's a little box down at the right hand corner of this art you can "click" and it'll make it larger, and for those who are so inclined you can stand on your head and look at this piece and see that it "works either way", LOL!)

Been down in my back this week, but finally a bit better today. I probably strained it while mowing the bank of my folk's yard for them last Wednesday since that's fairly steep and there's no way to do that with a riding mower (so it's the old "push" one in that part). Went ahead and worked every day though. You know me. Takes being mortally wounded to get me to call in sick. It has been a rough week, however. Yesterday made eight days straight without a full day off, plus this heat wave and temps everyday in the mid to high 90's or even into the three diget mark. Next week's not supposed to be any cooler either. Just be glad when Autumn finally arrives and I can get back to some "serious" outdoor work around this house.

And I'm still awaiting the arrival of a copy of Super Comics Plastic man #16 (1964) which I won back on 7/15, and mailed payment out immediately. I suppose the seller waited the courtesy time period for the check to clear, but it was finally marked as "payment received" on 8/6 and it's still to arrive. You may say that I should have used "PayPal", but I've discovered that this doesn't always speed up the delivery of a won item. No indeed. I've paid with PP many a time, and I still find sellers (in general) just like to take their good damn time to mail anything out. I think part of this problem is that they get a bit over their heads in auctions and wins, then don't have enough extra help to get items mailed. In fact, there's been several times I used PP and paid for priority mail, only to have the item still take a month to arrive and the seller used media mail instead. It's a bit of a "trap" for the buyer at times, because you dare not leave bad feedback UNLESS the seller leaves their FB first, or they will (more than likely) neg' you as well for no good reason. Ebay has just so very many sellers they just can't police them all, and "safe harbor' is certainly a joke; ask just about anyone that's reported a seller to that department. But I'll give this seller the benefit of the doubt and wait yet another couple of weeks. I'm patient. (I'll just remind myself to not bid on this seller's merchandise in the future.) And to be honest about it, in all of the years I've purchased items from on-line auctions I can only recall 3 items that i either didn't receive, or, weren't as described. Two of those dealers are now NARU'd from eBay selling, so things do eventually catch up with them. Just another reason though "why' I'd rather buy an item in person (whether it's from a personal contact or at a store) than over The Net.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Cheap Tomatoes"

This was forwarded to me and I thought it somewhat interesting, but won't voice a personal opinion regarding it one way or the other.


This should make everyone think, be you Democrat, Republican or Independent

From a California school teacher - - -

"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal
immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:

I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a
large southern California high school which is designated a Title
1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic
and income levels.

Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell
Gardens, Huntington Park, etc., where these students are
protesting, are also Title 1 schools.

Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program.
When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and
roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices
that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is
monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash

I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at
least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell
phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed
teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend
class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for
baby-sitters or having family watch their kids. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT

I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing
funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need
for anything; my budget was already substantial.. I ended up
buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of
which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the
appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to
have a free education in America. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)

I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute
teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students
here in the country less then 3 months who raised so much hell
with the female teachers, calling them "Putas" whores and throwing
things that the teachers were in tears.

Free medical, free education, free food, day care, etc., etc., etc.
Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country
but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?

To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants
contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and
housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some
time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.

Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical
costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools,
overcrowding, new diseases, etc., etc., etc. For me, I'll pay more
for tomatoes.

We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster
because we won't have the guts to enforce it.
Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily
leave and return?

There are many hardworking Hispanic/American citizens that
contribute to our country and many that I consider my true
friends. We should encourage and accept those Hispanics who have
done it the right and legal way.

It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children
getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses
to assimilate, and an American culture that has become so weak and
worried about "politically correctness" that we don't have the
will to do anything about it.

If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to
everyone you know.

CHEAP LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?

Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage.

Consumers don't want expensive produce.

Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.

But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a
myth, a farce, and a lie. there is no such thing as "cheap labor."

Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children.
He takes a job for $5.00 or $6.00/hour. At that wage, with six
dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if
he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit"
of up to $3,200 free.

He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.

He qualifies for food stamps.

He qualifies for free (no deductible, no CO-pay) health care.

His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school.

He requires bilingual teachers and books.

He qualifies for relief from high energy bills.

If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for
SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of
this is at (our) taxpayer's expense.

He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or
homeowners insurance.

Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed

He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour
in benefits.

Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after
paying their bills and his.

The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and
trash cleanup.

Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Right Into August"

Picked up a set of the Marvel Super-Hero Postage Stamps today to frame for my wall next to the DC set from last year.

I was never totally satisfied with last year's set from DC. There were so many just better choices "those in charge" could have made for these stamps, but didn't. Such as the "Supergirl" one, where the cover to The Daring New Advs. of Supergirl #1(1982) was used rather than some cover from comics such as Action #252(1959), or even Supergirl V1 #1(1974). And the "Plastic Man" cover was from a 1940's Quality issue instead of a book like Plastic Man #1 (1966)(not that the original Golden-Age run wasn't better, but these are supposed to be ALL DC Comics). "The Flash" stamp would have been better from The Flash #105(1959), and the "Aquaman" could have been instead from either an Aquaman V1#1(1962) or even a Showcase #30(1961). Plus there were plenty of both Golden-Age AND Silver-Age choices than to use a modern issue of Wonder Woman.

So this year in the Marvel stamps, they include a second-rate character such as "Spider-WOMAN", when there's clearly better choices if they just wanted a female character. I'd rather have seen "Daredevil" with his own stamp instead. Duly noted here too is that (as someone pointed out), "Wolverine' wasn't in the original X-Men #1 (1963). The logical choice, to me, would have been Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975), instead. ("The Ghost Rider" would have been a better choice for heroes, too, but then they'd lose their quota for their token female heroines.

Other changes I'd liked to have seen is Captain America Comics #1 (1941) rather than Captain America #100 (1968), and Sub-Mariner Comics #1 (1941) instead of Sub-Mariner #1 (1968).

Of course, this sheet of 20 stamps was a bit higher than the previous one since postage rates have since increased from .39 to .41 per stamp, changing the cost from $7.80 to $8.20.

Don't know what their next choice will be, but it'd be nice to see one from the Archie Comics Group (but you just know that someone will opt' for Image Comics or the like).

Well, you can certainly tell that it's August here in South-Central, KY., with this hot and dry weather, but with the year just whizzin' on by as it has, it'll soon be the first taste of Autumn. That's always my favorite time of the year; good sleeping weather and a good time to finish outdoor chores (just as long as all of the rain we've missed these past few monthes dosn't try to play catch up with us). About the only outside job I've yet to complete is both a new front sidewalk and a rock garden, but I'm sure I can get both of these little projects finished before it ever gets too cold.

I'm still waiting on some bricks from the destruction of the old, local hotel I was promised, which is what is holding up the beginning of both projects. Here in the past week or so, the windows have been removed from the old structure so maybe my wait won't be much longer.

Picked up three older comics today while at the local bookstore. Copies of Fantastic Four(Marvel) #353 (with Walt Simonson work), Secret Origins (DC)#44, and Phantom 2040 (Marvel/based on the animated t.v. series) #2. The Phantom had some of Steve Ditko's later work from 1995, just three years before his last artwork in Legends of the DC Universe 80 Page Giants #1 (1998). (Hard to believe he's been "retired" now for almost 10 years.) The Secret Origins had Keith Giffen work and the various origins of the "Clayface" villians of Batman. And the FF had the usual stuff by Simonson from the early 1990's. (Oh, for the days of "dollar" comics...)